Like many conservative bloggers — and even liberal pundits and editorialists — I have been wondering, since I read that former United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage leaked the information about Valerie Plame to columnist Bob Novak, why special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald persisted in his investigation of the leak even though Armitage had admitted “early on . . . to a grand jury” that he had passed the information on.
Ever since Patrick Fizgerald’s appointment, I have read of the respect he enjoys in legal circles as a scrupulous, but even-handed prosecutor. On NationalReviewOnline’s The Corner, Andrew McCarthy consistently defended him. As U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, he gained his reputation by investigatng and prosecuting corruption of Democrats as well as Republicans, convicting officials in the Administration of Chicago’s Democratic Mayor and recently sentencing a former Republican Governor. And, as Robbie informed me, he has vigorously gone after the mob.
So, why did such a respected prosecutor conduct such an extensive investigation which didn’t result in a single indictment on the underlying offense? Tom Maguire who has perhaps followed this case closer than anyone has commented on Fitzgerald’s “investigatory ineptitude” and references Byron York’s theory:
Fitzgerald may have chosen the course that he did — appearing to premise his investigation on what might be called the firedoglake theory of the case — because he was pointed in that direction by the White House’s enemies inside and outside the administration. That might raise questions about Fitzgerald’s judgment — was he spun? — but it is one possible explanation of why things happened as they did.
While York offers that explanation, I offer another, but as I do so, please note the question mark in the title of the post.
I wonder if maybe Fitzgerald had what I will call a “Jaworski Complex”* where a federal prosecutor assumes the “scandal” he is investigating is as substantial as Watergate. And that his investigation will earn him a place in the history books.
I name this complex for Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, a man familiar to most Americans aware of our nation’s recent history. I did not need to do a google search to remember his name (though I did do a google search to confirm some of the details of his investigation). It was Jaworski who subpoened then-President Nixon’s tapes, with the Supreme Court ruling that the White House had to release them. As those tapes revealed that Nixon “not only knew of the Watergate cover-up but also participated in it,” When the Supreme Court refused to quash the Nixon Administration’s attempt to quash Jaworski’s subpoena**, it set in motion the chain of events which would lead to Nixon’s resignation.
So, I wonder if Fitzgerald thought that by subpoenaing Bush White House officials, he might uncover information which would lead to a similar chain of events. Did he want to be as Jaworski, a prosecutor who would bring down a top Administration official?
Not only is Jaworki’s name familiar to those aware of our nation’s recent history, but he went on to write a book The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate which was one of ten bestselling nonfiction books of 1976.
While normally a scrupulous and even-handed prosecutor, maybe Patrick Fitzgerald had dreams of securing a place for himself in the history books as had Jaworski. Just a thought.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
*I realize that I am not the first to put forward this theory, but as far as I can tell no one else has used the term “Jaworski Complex.”
**When the Nixon White House appealed Judge John J. Sirica’s order to turn over the tapes to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Jaworski sought to bypass the appellate court and make his case directly to the Supreme Court.